We’ve compiled a list of five things the Portland Trail Blazers need to do in order to see improvements on the court next season. Here they are.
Here are five areas that need to improve for Portland to be more successful next season.
No. 1: Blazers Should Shoot More 3s
In a recent discussion amongst Rip City contributors, we identified the 2014-15 Trail Blazers as the strongest team in the Damian Lillard Era. That team ranked third in the NBA in three-point attempts.
Last season, Portland ranked 19th in the league in that category.
With one of the best backcourts in the NBA, this is unacceptable. Portland must take more three-point shots next season, which will lead to …
No. 2: Rejoin the Top Third of the NBA in Scoring
In every season Lillard has played in Portland, save his rookie year, the Blazers have been a Top 10 scoring team.
Last season, however, this was not the case. Instead, Portland checked in at 16th in the Association, ranking behind teams including the Hornets (10), Lakers (11) and Nets (14).
A roster as talented as Portland’s at premium scoring positions should easily crack the Top 10 in scoring, especially if they …
No. 3: PASS THE BALL!
Your Portland Trail Blazers were last in the NBA in assists last season. That’s right, the third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers were the worst team in the league in terms of assists.
This feels impossible, considering the guard talent on the roster, but it happened.
In the golden season of 2014-2015, Portland ranked 12th in the Association in assists, a ranking that Portland needs to chase if they want to improve next season.
No. 4: Improve Record Versus Playoff Teams
Portland finished the regular season with a record of 20-22 against playoff teams. This is an OK record if your goal is merely to make the playoffs, as Portland has for the past five seasons.
But isn’t good enough if you want your team to be tough enough to advance in the playoffs.
Portland needs to grind out more wins over playoff teams to improve their playoff seeding and confidence entering the postseason next year.
No. 5: Avoid Late-Season Swoon
This might be the most important key to improvement for Portland. Portland lost four straight before winning the regular season finale to avoid falling out of the third seed.
That losing streak proved fatal, killing the team’s momentum and confidence, and they were easily swept aside by the Pelicans in the first round of the playoffs.
Clearly, last season was a disappointment for Rip City. The 2018-2019 season won’t be any easier, with Golden State, Houston and the Lakers bolstering their rosters.
But if Portland can improve in these five key areas and enter the playoffs hot, they can improve their postseason outcomes.